When we arrived at seven and change on a warm summer morning for this edition of the field trip, I didn’t know it would forever change the way I look at food.
Chef Tim’s spread of breakfast Sammies helped kickoff the morning, then off to Stratford and Montforte Dairy, what a place of smells!
When we arrived the scent of warm whey was everywhere. Talking to the cheese maker was awesome. I have seen him many times at the St. Lawrence market and I felt I knew the skinny on some of his cheeses, until I walk into the “Wild Room”. The amount of ammonia in the air grabs your nose like a smack to the face. Very special things happen in that room.
It was the first time I had seen cheese mites. We get Mimolette at Cluny Bistro and they are waxed for shipping, however the cheese mite is celebrated in that cheese.
Then to lunch and what a lunch! The people in that town get the best from every farmer, all things we ate you would see on a high end chalk board in the west end of Toronto, or on a high end tapas menu. The roma tomatoes were so perfect as if they were grown just to be paired with the fresh Monforte Toscano.
Now when it all changed we rolled up to a log drive way and pulled in. We were greeted by the dogs first then the owners of Perth pork .
I got to talking with Fred about the pigs and he’s showed me the boars I got to butcher with Chef O and Chef Reid a long time ago when I was a cook at The DRC, but I sure didn’t look at it in the same light back then.
Fred told us about how he got the Tamworth breed and how they thrive in that Ontario air.
After meeting the people that produce this pork I realized I had to do everything I could to make this man’s life work into very tasty products, trying not to waste a thing.
His method of letting the pigs rest before slaughter reminded me of the Japanese way for dispatching fish called “ikejime”, all of the care is in making the sure the latic acid is as minimal as possible.
As was the same with Fred’s Perth county pork. So before I arrived I already had a plan how I was going to butcher it. I would try to get the most market cuts out of the hog and sell them on feature at Cluny, making back the investment on the pig before turning a bit into some tasty charcuterie.
Cured in salt for one month at 4% by weight then hung for 1 year.
So the the pig’s cost is covered with more than 50+ pounds of it still to be sold off.
I feel very proud of what I have done with a mans life work and I will never look at food the same again.
35 Tank House Lane